Revolution Pro have set a high standard of quality with their York Hall shows and, with only the titular main event announced until all the tickets had been sold, some were worried that this would prove to be a one-match card. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and a packed out 1,200-strong York Hall crowd were treated to seven great matches, numerous international debuts, the return of a former champion and a hero’s welcome for the Best of the Super Jr.
1. Noam Dar vs Marty Scurll
To kick things off, former RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll took on Noam Dar, who returned to RevPro last month and won a qualifier for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. This was Noam’s third appearance back in RevPro and, although he did have his supporters in York Hall, this was quite clearly ‘The Villain’s house and Dar had to work hard without the crowd’s energy behind him. Marty was in fine form in the early going, showing off his prowess on the mat and contorting Dar’s fingers maliciously, before pitching him out of the ring and hitting a big running kick on the apron. He went to the well once too often, however, and when he next tried the move Dar countered by kicking his legs out from under him. Noam hit a few more real nasty kicks to Marty’s legs, softening him up for the Champagne Super Kneebar, as well as a picture perfect running dropkick into the corner, but even though he eventually locked in his submission, Marty managed to escape. Moments later, Marty managed to catch Dar in the Chickenwing to force him to tap in what was a good opening bout. Scurll was his usual excellent self, although mugging off members of the audience only seemed to make people cheer for him all the harder, while it was great to see Noam in person again.
2. Pete Dunne vs Martin Stone
The return of a former champion here, as ‘The Guvnor’ Martin Stone took on current RPW Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne in a non-title match. Stone, who now lives in the US, has been earning rave reviews for his work in EVOLVE, FIP and AWE and for good reason. The hard-hitting brawler brings a ton of energy to his matches and he put on a great show here with ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne, a similarly hard-hitting wrestler who’s really come into his own in the past year or so. Unsurprisingly, this one started out physical and remained that way throughout, neither man gaining any decisive advantage as they pummelled each other with strikes and suplexes. Dunne managed to hit his Drop Dead facebuster, only for Stone to kick out at the very last moment. Stone recovered well, punishing Dunne with some huge uppercuts before hitting the London Bridge DDT, but this time Dunne somehow managed to kick out before the three count, much to Stone’s surprise. A minute later and it was over, Dunne distracting referee Chris Roberts and low-blowing Stone before hitting another Drop Dead facebuster for the win. This was another good match, a proper solid contest between two proper brawlers that the crowd was well into by the end. I felt Stone didn’t initially get the reaction he deserved, but he definitely won over those in the crowd who weren’t following RPW back when he was champion. Post-match Stone asked for the mic and said that, although he’s living in America now, it’s great to see that the British scene’s in good hands with the likes of Pete Dunne.
3. Big Daddy Walter vs Big Damo
As far as Big Lads matches go, they don’t get much bigger than Big Daddy Walter vs Big Damo. The gigantic Austrian native Big Daddy Walter even towered over Big Damo and he brought his extra size to bear for much of the match, keeping Damo (for the most part) under his control. Walter showed off his amazing strength by hitting an impressive side suplex and an even more impressive picture-perfect double arm suplex that shook the ring alarmingly. Walter had scored with one huge missile dropkick off the top, but when he went for it a second time Damo climbed up after him and sent him crashing down to the mat with a huge superplex! Unable to get the big man up for the Belfast Drop, Damo instead resorted to a cross-face and really cinched it in, forcing Walter to tap. This was a well paced match, huge chops and suplexes from both men, but it didn’t seem like many in the crowd were particularly familiar with either man and it didn’t quite get the reaction I felt the match it warranted.
Post-match, a graphic appeared on screen announcing Katsuyori Shibata’s opponent for Summer Sizzler on July 10th…Zack Sabre Jr! What a huge match that’s going to be.
4. Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey
A true hero’s welcome for ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay here, returning to a UK ring for the first time since winning the NJPW Best of the Super Jr. XXIII tournament against Ryusuke Taguchi in one of the best Jr. Heavyweight matches of the year. The crowd reaction was electric and Will seemed genuinely shocked by the ovation, to which the crowd responded “You deserve it!”. Ospreay’s proved he’s one of the best young wrestlers in the world today and he’s an incredibly versatile talent, but while he can use strikes well, I wouldn’t call him a striker. ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey is a striker and that much he most definitely proved here as he punished Ospreay with some devastating kicks to the arms, the legs and the spine of ‘The Aerial Assassin’. At one point Ospreay called “It’s time!” and went up top for a Vader Bomb, but much to his shock Bailey kicked out before the one-count was even made. The match kicked it up a gear and both guys showed off their speed and aerial ability, Bailey hitting a beautiful moonsault double-knee stomp, while Ospreay hit a goddamn springboard Yoshi Tonic. Ospreay scored with the amazing Implosion 450, but Bailey somehow managed to kick out before the three count and Ospreay finished him off with the OsCutter for the three count. A really enjoyable, exciting match that got a big standing ovation from the crowd. Bailey impressed, can’t wait to see him vs Marty Scurll at Summer Sizzler next month.
Ospreay got on the mic and thanked the fans for their support and gave huge thanks to RPW promoter Andy Quildan for all he’s done for his career. He then went on to say that he won’t be wrestling as much in 2017, as his body just can’t take the punishment, but when he is able to make time for indie appearances he will always make time for RevPro.
5. Chris Hero vs Josh Bodom
The second half of the show got started with ‘The Knock-Out Artist’ Chris Hero taking on Josh Bodom of The Revolutionists. Bodom’s been doing well for himself over the past year in RPW, but this was easily his biggest test yet in Chris Hero, a world-travelled 17 year veteran with knowledge and experience of a vast array of styles. Hero put that knowledge to good use early on, out-wrestling Bodom in the outset before he even brought his deadly elbows and kicks into play. Bodom, for his part, fought well and managed to to withstand the tide of strikes Hero threw at him. He picked his moments well and gained control of the match, hitting his suspended piledriver off the middle rope for a close near-fall. Hero battled back and spiked Bodom with a snap piledriver, but Bodom showed great resilience by kicking out. He went for a low blow on Hero, but it missed and it looked like Bodom was done for, but the referee was accidentally knocked over by Hero, which allowed Bodom to low blow him and hit a big roaring elbow for a shock upset victory. This was another real good match, probably the best I’ve seen from Bodom to date, while Hero again impressed with his devastating strikes and technical ability. Certainly one of the most complete performers in wrestling today.
Post-match Bodom got on the mic and, perhaps somewhat foolishly, challenged Tomohiro Ishii for Summer Sizzler! Good luck, kid.
6. RPW British Tag Title Match: The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle) © vs Joel Redman & Charlie Garrett
The penultimate match of the evening saw The Revolutionists of Sha Samuels and James Castle try and defend the RPW tag titles against Joel Redman and Charlie Garrett, who have been teaming to good effect at Rev Pro’s Live at the Cockpit shows over the past month or so. Going into this match The Revolutionsists were just one day shy of holding the RPW tag belts for an entire year, in which they’ve mugged off numerous tag teams, the biggest scalp being that of legendary Japanese tag team TenKoji. Tonight was not The Revolutionists night, however, as Garrett and Redman proved a tough pairing to defeat. The match started out at a quick pace and quickly devolved into anarchy, referee Chris Roberts having difficulty keeping track of who was and wasn’t legal and eventually just counting double pins, neither of which were successful. Eventually Garrett caught Castle with a tombstone, which Redman followed up with an impressive standing corkscrew moonsault to become the new RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Champions! The match was a fun enough break before the main event, although it got a bit muddled towards the end there. I like the pairing of Garrett and Redman.
7. Kurt Angle vs Zack Sabre Jr. – Non-Title Match
Main event time and a big reaction for the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr, but an even bigger reaction for the Olympic Gold Medallist and four time WWE World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle, who got a huge ovation from the crowd, before they broke into a chorus of “You Suck!” that even Kurt had to crack a smile at. The atmosphere was seriously electric in York Hall as the match got underway. Zack initially confounded Angle with his sublime British wrestling technique, but Kurt used his greater strength to leverage things in his favour. Zack worked his way free and hit a huge penalty kick out of nowhere, only for Kurt to kick out! You could tell Angle was wary of letting that happen again and he took no chances with Sabre when they next locked up, but Zack managed to twist him over into the double-wristlock and Kurt barely made it to the ropes. Zack peppered Angle with a series of strikes, but Kurt ducked under into a waistlock and hit a huge trio of German suplexes that knocked the RPW Champion senseless before locking in the Angle Lock to force Sabre to tap! This wasn’t the longest of bouts and if the card hadn’t been quite so stacked I think some might have been disappointed, but I felt that while the match was fairly compact (owing in part to a knee injury that prevented Kurt from giving 100%) we got our money’s worth. Kurt did a lot to put over Sabre during the match and after it as well, with kind words about Zack, the crowd and RPW, as well as promising he’d be back in the future.
Overall this was another great York Hall outing for Revolution Pro. The main event won’t be making any Match of the Year lists, but it was a cool spectacle in front of a hugely excited and appreciative crowd. The match of the night probably goes to the crazy Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey match, for my money, but Chris Hero vs Josh Bodom and Martin Stone vs Pete Dunne weren’t far behind. I also really enjoyed the Big Daddy Walter vs Big Damo match, just two big lads throwing big strikes and big suplexes. One issue I’ve had with York Hall shows in the past is the pacing, sometimes they’ve peaked too early, but everything clicked here and I found this a really easy and enjoyable show to watch from ringside. Definitely give it a watch on demand and support RevPro so they continue to put on great events like this!
RPW ‘Angle vs Sabre’ is available now for VOD from http://rpwondemand.com, while they return to York Hall on July 10th for Summer Sizzler with Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr, Josh Bodom vs Tomohiro Ishii, Mike Bailey vs Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay vs Pete Dunne! Tickets are on-sale now over at; http://revolutionprowrestling.com